Universe/Multiverse enabled by default in ubuntu-server

Neal McBurnett neal at bcn.boulder.co.us
Thu Aug 9 17:53:48 UTC 2007

On Thu, Aug 09, 2007 at 10:44:47AM -0600, Leonel Nunez wrote:
> > The Universe and Multiverse repositories are enabled by default on a
> > fresh ubuntu-server install. This change was implemented as of Feisty
> > and outlined here:
> > https://wiki.ubuntu.com/AlwaysEnableUniverseMultiverse.
> > This specification is target for desktop users.
> >
> > I was wondering if that situation also applies to the server.
> >
> > On one hand, a server user may be more cautious about installing
> > unsupported software. One the other hand, I've read and heard of lot of
> > users stating that they had to enable universe anyway to install some
> > software to make their server running.
> >
> > So do you enable the universe repository on your server installs ?
> I had never used ubuntu as server  because of  universe
> all the software we use we need to be aware about the updates and risks of
> using software with known bugs  unfixed
> With universe we ( users )  need to be sure that the software we use is
> updated and there are some choices :
> 1 report the bug
> 2 report and  try to fix the bug with the MOTU people
> 3 roll your own .deb  or compile from tarball
> but like me that I need some packages and I know there are others that
> need those packages updated too  I guess the best choice  is  2
> I hope  this can lead us the people who use ubuntu as server and need
> universe packages updated to come to MOTU  and  help with updating
> packages at least  the packages we need.

We enable universe on our servers also, for the same reasons as others.

Some packages we install and depend on for day-to-day operations.  Some
we just depend on for configuration or statistical analysis (like the
gui tools others have referred to), and can find other work-arounds if
we need to uninstall them for security reasons.  And other packages
are even less important, but convenient or of temporary interest.

Listening to the discussion, my sense is that the most important thing
is to clarify what is happening with the installation of each package.
It would also help to provide an option to indicate whether a given
package recursively depends on anything outside of main.  I'd like to
be able to find out either during apt-get install, or later via

Part of the spec talks about command-line options

 We assume for the command-line users that they will pay attention to
 the "Section" of the "apt-cache show" output. In addition we should
 provide a convenient way to disable the non-free repositories. In
 addition to the current "software-properties --enable-component=" we
 should provide a "software-properties --disable-component="
 commandline argument. We could also tell the user (analog to the
 current "The following NEW packages will be installed:" message)
 about unsupported packages that are installed (also this might be too
 much clutter).

At the same time, I'd like better clarification of what "support"
means both on the web sites and during command-line operation.  I
assume that some packages in universe are somewhat well supported by
MOTU and others in the community even though Canonical hasn't
committed to supporting them.  So I think this statement from the
standard sources.list should be qualified:

 N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
 team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
 your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
 universe WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security

I.e. there are people other than the "Ubuntu security team" that can
and may well release security updates for universe and multiverse.
More details on how and when that may happen would be good, and we
might not lose some folks who would otherwise avoid Ubuntu.
I remember a time when that statement gave me significant pause.


Neal McBurnett                 http://mcburnett.org/neal/

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